Peace Corps Celebrates March as Women's History Month

March 1, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter today designated March 2007 as Womens History Month at the Peace Corps. During the month of March, The United States highlights the achievements of women throughout history and emphasizes their vital impact on our future.

"Women of the Peace Corps have made such tremendous and positive contributions. This month we'll honor their dedication to changing lives one at a time. Our organization continues to be strengthened by their commitment to service all around the globe. I encourage employees to participate in the activities during Womens History Month to celebrate the women who helped shape our communities and our Nation," said Director Tschetter.

Female Peace Corps Volunteers have consistently outnumbered male volunteers for the past 20 years. Currently, 59 percent of Peace Corps Volunteers are women. 4,537 Peace Corps Volunteers are women, out of the total 7,749 Americans serving as Volunteers around the world.

This year's national theme for Women's History Month, Generations of Women Moving History Forward, follows the theme of the 1977 National Womens Conference in Houston, Texas: We Are Here to Move History Forward. Director Tschetter added, "Then, now, and in the future we recognize and thank women from all backgrounds for their help in shaping our organization."

Women have shown great leadership and passion in their Peace Corps service. The longest serving Director in Peace Corps history was a women, Loret Miller Ruppe. Carolyn Payton served as Director from 1977-1978, and returned Volunteer Jody Olsen currently serves as Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.

Other notable female volunteers in the Peace Corps are: Pamela W. Barnes (Paraguay, 1998-2000), President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Anne Lynam Goddard (Kenya, 1979-1981) President of the Christian Children's Fund; Maureen Orth (Colombia, 1964-1966) Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. (A more detailed listing can be found in the attached Fact Sheet.) Currently, the oldest serving Peace Corps Volunteer is a female, Margaret Pratley at age 80.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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